The Daniel Waples Signature Series of HandPan - from TerraTonz

*Daniel Waples perfoming on the original "Waples scale" PANArt Hang.
While Daniel Waples has in the past aligned himself briefly with several other makers of hand- played steel instruments - from Babel Drums, to OrbiPan.  It is with U.S. HandPan-makers, TerraTonz, that Daniel Waples appears to have found himself most at home.  With photos and videos appearing frequently of Daniel visiting the TerraTonz workshop - even wielding a hammer himself, from time-to-time.

When we interviewed Daniel Waples a few years back, he had approximately 30,000 Facebook followers, while at time of posting, he is closing in on 120,000 - making him Facebook’s most followed solo HandPan performer (with the HandPan-playing duo, Hang Massive, just ahead overall, at 142,000).  And Daniel Waple’s YouTube, and live performances, continue to introduce many, to the sounds of UFO-shaped singing-steel.

And the query, “What scale Hang drum does Daniel Waples play?” remains a question asked of search engines, that frequently sends visitors to this website.

The Daniel Waples Signature Series - from TerraTonz

The Daniel Waples signature series of HandPan from TerraTonz, are offered in two sound-models, The “Waples 8”, and the “Waples 9”.  While we couldn’t find it stated anywhere clearly on the internet at time of writing, we’re assuming that the Waples 8 model is of the following scale: (D) A C D E F G A Bb.  Which is the scale of the second-generation PANArt Hang (no. 472), that Daniel Waples was most famous for playing in his early years (that is now sometimes referred to as the “Waples scale”) - a Hang that Daniel offered up as a prize to one of his fans in 2013. 

Another reason for assuming the former, is that the Waples 9 model from TerraTonz, features the following notes: (D) A C D E F G A Bb D.  Which is obviously the same, but with an additional D.

Check out the videos below to hear what they sound like...

For more information on the Daniel Waples signature series of HandPan from TerraTonz, you can visit their website HERE.  Or connect with TerraTonz, or Daniel Waples, at Facebook.

The Coming of the Oval - "The First Digital HandPan"

While the Oval is not the first attempt at creating an electronic version of the HandPan that we’ve come across (see Sonic Fingers, from 2011, for example).  The Oval appears to have a level of momentum, support, exposure, expertise, and demand for the product, that earlier attempts failed to reach.  And with long-time Hang man, Ravid Goldschmidt, throwing his weight in with the project, and with early demo videos showing promise, the Oval is something, that everybody within the world of HandPan, is currently keeping one eye on.

Presented for funding to the public over at the Kickstarter platform, as being: electronic musical instrument that connects to an App for smartphone or tablet and it can also be used as a controller connected to a computer. Inspired by the HandPans family of acoustic instruments, the Oval provides total freedom to create sounds and it’s a tool geared towards music learning and performing. It allows you to both change and create sounds and it is also a tool for sharing your compositions with an on-line community of users.’

The Oval funding campaign reached its initial target within just two days, and went on to reach a level of investment of over 300% of its initial goal - with 680 backers pledging a total of €348,018 between them, to fund the project.  With each person pre-purchasing an Oval, paying at least €349.  

Promotion of the Oval as being the “first digital Handpan”, has caused some controversy within HandPan circles.  With debate ensuing as to whether the Oval should in fact be considered to be a “digital HandPan”, or merely a HandPan-shaped MIDI controller.

The sound of an acoustic Hang envelopes the player in a sonic-sound-bath.  It whispers, and growls, sings sweetly, and even screams in pain (if played too heavily), depending upon how it is touched. And it is these nuances, that we imagine, will be hard to replicate fully, in digital form.   The steel of a well-made HandPan responds to the hand in a very organic way - that electronic sensors, may, or may not, be able to reproduce...

The appeal of a device like the Oval, over an acoustic HandPan, however, lies primarily in its versatility, the ability to play any HandPan scale on the one instrument, or utilise any sampled instrument for that matter - using the HandPan’s intuitive note layout.  This combined with the ability to easily record, and amplify, the Oval (potentially) addresses most of an acoustic HandPan’s main weaknesses.

The first Oval to reach their backers are estimated for delivery in March, 2016.  So if you’ve stumbled across this post after that date, go check out YouTube and hopefully you’ll find some user-generated demonstrations, or go find some forum chatter.  If however, as with ourselves (at time of posting), that date has yet to pass - you’ll have to make do with checking in on the Oval Facebook page from time-to-time (or even better - subscribing to it), to catch up with the latest.

Already played an Oval, and want to let us know your thoughts? Join the forum: HERE.

Minecraft Meets the HandPan - Aria Math, by C418

While the majority of us most likely discovered the sounds of HandPan through a YouTube video shared online, or perhaps through live performance, people continue to discover the sounds of UFO-shaped singing steel, in all manner of places.  

Even if you're not much of a gamer, you've probably heard of Minecraft, and know somebody who does, or has, played it.  Lego-esque, with some survival-strategy, and more, thrown in, Minecraft, is, inarguably, one of this generations stand-out video-game success stories - selling 54 Million copies, to date, and counting.  And Minecraft is becoming increasingly responsible, for introducing the sounds of HandPan, to a whole new audience...

Heard this while playing Minecraft. I've never bought a song based on a video game before, but this one is such a masterpiece I had to pick it up!’, said one fan of the track titled, “Aria Math”, a prominent song featured within the Minecraft soundtrack, that features the sound of HandPan (sampled most likely - but hey!).  And with hundreds of others claiming Aria Math as their favourite Minecraft track, over at YouTube, you know that the Pan is a large part of what is making this a stand-out tune for many of these listeners, when many comment on the songs ability to evoke feelings of “sadness”, yet also “joy” simultaneously - a notable quality of the HandPan’s sound.

Produced by the German musician known as, “C418”, Aria Math features on the soundtrack, “Minecraft - Volume Beta”.  Which is the second Minecraft soundtrack produced by C418 (the first being Volume Alpha). All-in-all, Volume Beta features 30 tracks, and is 141 minutes in length.  And should you be looking to grab yourself a copy for your MP3 player of choice, to bring the sounds of Minecraft with you into the “real world”, you can find it available for sale over at Amazon: HERE

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